.... just a morning drive over to the Wirral with Jeff for some fresh air and a few waders. Its is fair to say that we both had a little hope of catching some White Fronted Geese which would have been a life tick for both of us.
A visit to the recently opened Burton Mere Wetlands indeed gave us that life tick chance. Lingering fog on the way down gave way to some fleeting morning sunshine. The new reserve with a lovely reception, hide and trails are well presented. Plenty of scrapes and freshwater pools are dotted around the site. A handful of woodland birds are easy pickings in the reception area and carpark including Great Spotted Woodpecker. The walk towards the covert hide brought us a lovely close view of a dozen strong flock of Siskins, in with them were Goldfinch and at least one Lesser Redpoll. Further down the trail we saw the unmistakable sillouette of a Marsh Harrier cruising directly in front of the hide and then away over the trees that line the marshes, certainly a bonus early morning sighting. Plenty of waterfowl and a few wading species fed in front of the hide.... Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Gadwall and a pair of Pintail. From the hide we could see the distant geese..... Greylags and Canadas for sure, were there White Fronted mixed in?... I guess today wasnt going to be our day as they stayed very distant. A lone Perigrin Falcon perched atop of a fence post 200 mtrs from the hide and quietly disapeared the moment we took our eyes off it..... it didnt even manage to put up the geese!
Back at the visitor centre a few more wader species were on show, Lapwing, Curlew, Redshank, Snipe, Ruff, Black Tailed Godwit and Dunlin.
A quick trip to Parkgate marsh brought a stunning male Hen Harrier, while Jeff caught a glimpse of the female... a good day for raptors as Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Buzzard all showed well.
We didnt manage to see the White fronted Geese but it was more than made up with superb views of Marsh and Hen Harriers.